No End In Sight To Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute

Russian and Ukrainian officials have still not found a solution to their dispute over natural gas supplies.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko met with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on September 5. Afterwards, Hryshchenko indicated that the two sides had still not reached an agreement but he remained cautiously optimistic.

“Although naturally we have enough arguments to present our case in any international court, we think, however, that we’ll very soon find a solution that would suit the modern market situation and modern contract practice,” he said.

Under a deal signed by the two countries in 2009, Ukraine should be paying some $400 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas by the end of this year.

Hryshchenko said not even richer European nations such as Germany pay such a price.

Yevgeny Bakulin, the head of Ukraine’s state energy company Naftohaz, said on September 5 that a more realistic price would be $230 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Hryshchenko also said Russia’s offer to receive lower prices for gas if Ukraine would join the Commonwealth of Independent States’ Customs Union was unacceptable to Kyiv, as was a proposal for Russia to acquire part of Ukraine’s internal gas pipeline network.

Aleksei Miller, the head of Russian gas giant Gazprom, said on September 5 that if there was a deal on merging Gazprom and Naftohaz, the Russian side could fill Ukraine’s pipelines with gas.

The quarrel between Russia and Ukraine is making countries in the eastern part of the EU nervous.

A dispute between Russia and Ukraine in early 2009 severely reduced or totally suspended gas supplies to several eastern EU members.

compiled from agency reports

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